A busy return to the second half of the autumn term with pupils and staff picking up the baton of last term very effectively. The week has been full of events including International Languages Day led by Madame Barlow and Senor Torres. An excellent experience for all pupils which builds on our Duncombe focus of holistic education. Do look out for the report and I am sure you will join me in saying ‘très bien’ and ‘¡Buen trabajo!’ to them both. Further emphasising our commitment to a holistic experience of learning, Year 6 attended workshops as part of their visit to Duxford Imperial War Museum earlier in the week.

I was delighted to host Mr Dominic Norrish, the new CEO of IAPS earlier this week. Duncombe is a member of IAPS which is the leading Preparatory School Association. He is visiting schools as part of his strategic development informing process and I was particularly pleased with his feedback during the visit. He was particularly struck by the utilisation of the spaces or zones of the school, how these supported the delivery of a holistic education and why that really matters. He also was in praise of his interactions with staff and pupils who were warm and welcoming. His parting note was that Duncombe put him in mind of an ‘upmarket hotel!’ I said ‘I’ll be using that!’ which I am. He took for example the Forest School curriculum allied to the excellent Dell facility and how children receive the regular access to outside learning, covering nature and fauna, food chains and life cycles and the awe that is the great outdoors! His comments were this is what schools like Duncombe give our children that can’t be given elsewhere. I could not agree more!

In Assembly we are building on our earlier themes to explore Fundamental British Values. There are defined as The Rule of Law, Democracy, Individual Liberty and Respect and Tolerance. As ever, the children make excellent links between their current school experiences and wider society. In discussing the need for rules, we explored the story of a young boy who found a magic ring with the power of invisibility. He initially chose to use this for nefarious means- however is brought to heel when he is forced to reflect on why we have rules and the importance they provide for us all. I was particularly pleased with the connection the children made in response to the questioning around this- many showing deep philosophical reflection and the ability to think round moral questions. Very impressive to see!

Last week I attended the Cognita Europe Heads’ Conference. Always a most interesting and helpful experience I was delighted that Duncombe was awarded the ‘Great Place To Work Award’. This is judged based on the Voice of the Employee Surveys where Duncombe staff gave the whole of TeamDuncombe a wonderfully positive set of responses. I was very proud of the entire team and
we have placed the trophy in the cabinet next to last year’s award for Operational Excellence.

Next week is full of events and activities including matches galore, Year 2 attending the Roald Dahl Museum, the Year 1 Light and Dark science workshop, Parents’ Evenings for Nursery and Reception on Tuesday and Year 5 on Wednesday. To cap the week off we have the PA Glow party which looks to be another amazing PA event. So much to look forward to.

Have a wonderful weekend. Mr Phelan